Had a crack at the West Highland Way - almost 100 miles from Milngavie to Fort William...
Day One: Dragged my 25KG backpack 15 miles in some very miserable weather on the first day in just 4 hours, which got me to the town Drymen, where I tried to find a campsite and got accused of being English by a local! Rescued a lost Spaniard (Antonio, who joined me for the rest of the trip) and helped him find a B&B for the night, while I tried to find an open campsite - wrong time of year to camp in Scotland by all accounts??
Finally persuaded a B&B owner to let me set my tent up in her garden for a fiver and pitched my tent and hit the local pubs. Was a frosty night in the tent, dropping to 1C but the sleeping bag was brilliant. The head torch Bernie and Andy got me saved my life a fair few times and the body thermal layer top James got me worked a treat - thanks guys! ;-)
Day Two: Got up early to gorgeous clear blue skies (a very rare thing in Scotland, especially in mid March) and had a healthy Scottish fry up before I dragged my Pack to Balmaha via what seemed to be Mount Everest! Despite aiming for 20 miles, the backpack took its toll and I only managed 15 miles on my second day and was getting well behind my plans of doing the 100 miles in 5 days. The scenery was stunning and the weather was incredible - I couldn't believe my luck as I made my way along Loch Lomond, heading North to my next port of call - Rowerdennan.
Thanks to a very sore pair of shoulders and nappy rash that'd cripple a horse, I caved to the craving for a decent shower and bed and payed for a bed in a hostel in Rowerdennan - felt like a 5 star hotel! I also spent the best 14 quid I have ever spent in my life and payed for my bag to be couriered 25 miles up the road while I made my way there without the dam thing weighing me down.
Day Three: Got off to a flier - 10 miles in 2 and half hours, through some of the trickiest points on the West Highland Way. Saw Rob Roy's cave, some very strange sheep and some cracking views of Loch Lomond. After lunch in Inversnaid we pressed onto Inverarnan and tried to keep up the furious pace, so we could catch up with the the plan of finishing by Friday. Unfortunately after about an hour my knee started hurting quite badly and it slowly degenerated and reduced me to a snails pace and a pathetic limp. I bode farewell to my Spanish companion and he disappeared into the distance, while I limped towards civilisation and hopefully some public transport.
I was eventually rescued by a bus and then an expensive cab to where my pack had been dropped off - the Bridge of Orchy. Gutted and dejected I boarded a train to Glasgow worrying about my knee and the implications on my plans for my big trip...
The Aftermath: Went and saw a physio and all was deemed to be OK - just some soft tissue damage and nothing serious. 2 weeks of Neurofen, a knee support and a couple of strange stretches would sort me out - so all was OK in the end and all I had was the disappointment from not completing the trek but at least I'm fine for my journey and I can to all the treks in the months ahead ;-)